VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team took a loss in its first road game of the season on Saturday afternoon, falling to No. 19 Virginia Wesleyan College 79-65.
Sophomore Justin Witmer got the Sea Gulls going with a three-pointer 15 seconds into the first half for a quick lead. Witmer registered SU's first six points, adding a free throw and a jump shot for a 6-3 advantage; he paced the team with 19 points in the game, including 15 in the first half.
There were three lead changes in the first eight minutes of play. The Marlins' Greg Montgomery drained a jumper to give his team its first lead, 7-6, but sophomore Charles Porter came right back down the floor for a layup to regain the edge for the Sea Gulls.
A layup from freshman Jordan Brooks put the advantage back to three at 10-7, but four-straight points from Virginia Wesleyan flipped the score again and gave the Marlins the lead, which they would hold for the rest of the contest.
A 10-4 run increased the lead to 21-14, but Witmer started a run for SU with a layup to cut the lead to four. Two Porter layups continued the stretch, before a free throw from senior Conor Strickland put the score at 25-21. Porter finished second on the team with 15 points in the game, while Strickland led the Gulls with four assists.
The Marlins would not let SU get any closer in the period, but four points would stay the margin heading into halftime, after junior Wyatt Smith scored a layup with 49 seconds left in the half.
At the break, Salisbury was shooting 50 percent from three and leading the rebounding margin 15-13.
A three from Cameron Owens opened the second half for the Marlins, but sophomore Gordon Jeter put Salisbury back within five, 41-36, with a made shot in the paint.
The Gulls would get the deficit back down to five twice more, including on the very next possession on a Witmer layup with 18:20 left in the game, making the score 43-38.
After the Marlins built the lead to 11, Witmer added another layup to start a 6-0 run for the Gulls. Porter followed with two free throws and a make in the paint to cut the score to 52-47, but Virginia Wesleyan began to pull away from there for a double-digit lead and the win.
Four Sea Gulls totaled double-figure scoring in the contest, as Witmer and Porter were joined by Jeter and Smith, who tallied 11 each, respectively; Jeter pulled down six boards to lead the team in rebounding.
Salisbury returns to action after the Thanksgiving holiday, traveling to St. Mary's College of Maryland for its first Capital Athletic Conference action of the season on Wednesday, December 3; the game is set for 8 p.m.